The floods in Iowa

Our hearts go out to the peo­ple, includ­ing friends, in Iowa this week. We lived in Iowa City for sev­en years, and still con­sid­er it home. See­ing the pic­tures, read­ing the sto­ries, it has been wrench­ing. While nobody we know has been dis­placed, every­one we know has been affect­ed. We wish them the best of good for­tune and good­will in the com­ing recov­ery.

Below is a pic­ture of the Dan­forth Chapel, on the Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa cam­pus, where we got mar­ried. Hun­dred of vol­un­teers worked tire­less­ly to keep it (and sur­round­ing build­ings) in as good a shape as it is in. Thank you.

(Here is the orig­i­nal link)

Danforth Chapel

Time to buy: an LCD Monitor

Okay folks, WWDC is come and gone, and it is time to take the next step in the Home Com­put­ing Mas­ter Plan. First up, the Mac mini, exter­nal stor­age, exter­nal mon­i­tor pack­age. The first two are easy, but the last is prov­ing a bit of a headache, so I thought I’d post about it.

I am delib­er­at­ing between three (well, two) 24″ lcd mon­i­tors.

23-inch Apple Cin­e­ma HD Dis­play — $799.00 My favorite because it is Apple, and the screen is sup­posed to be delight­ful. But it is expen­sive, and tech specs-wise it seems to suf­fer by com­par­i­son. Also, no height adjust­ment. Now, if it had a built-in iSight cam­era, I’d be sold. But Apple is clear­ly not lis­ten­ing to me. Specs: 14ms response; 700:1 con­trast; 400 cd/m2; 178° view; 0.258 mm pix­el pitch; DVI. Bonus: USB hub, FW 400 BenQ FP241W — $669.00 This mon­i­tor has got­ten some favor­able reviews late­ly (as have the oth­ers) and comes with a cou­ple of inter­est­ing fea­tures, too, like the rotat­ing screen and the pic­ture-in-pic­ture (for more than one input). Of note, one review said if one input is dig­i­tal, the oth­er must be ana­log (boo!). Specs: 6ms response; 1000:1 con­trast; 500 cd/m2; 178° view; 0.270 mm pix­el pitch; HDMI, DVI, etc. Bonus: Piv­ot (to por­trait), swiv­el, Pic­ture-in-Pic­ture Dell Ultra­Sharp 2408 WFP — $619.00 A CNET Editor’s Choice. Dell actu­al­ly has a good his­to­ry with lcd screens, and this is sup­posed to con­tin­ue that. Cheap (and that makes me ner­vous, but when is any­thing not on sale at Dell?) and new. But there are a ton of reviews out there, and even on Dell’s site (incl. some not-so-favor­able ones), which is more than can be said for the BenQ. Specs: 6ms response; 1300:1 con­trast; 400 cd/m2; 178° view; 0.250 mm pix­el pitch, HDMI, DVI, etc. Bonus: USB hub, card read­er, Piv­ot, Swiv­el, PiP, the Kitchen Sink

One thing to keep in mind while you’re look­ing at lcds is the rel­a­tive qual­i­ty of the pan­el part. One indi­ca­tor of that is whether the pan­el is 6-bit, or 8-bit, and one way to tell that, is by the view­ing angle. If the view­ing angle is 160°, then you have a 6-bit pan­el. If it is more like 178°, it’s an 8-bit. I think.

In any case, look­ing at the specs above, it is easy to dis­miss the Apple screen, how­ev­er high the qual­i­ty might be. Between the BenQ and the Dell, well… the sheer num­ber of reviews, the price, and my own per­son­al his­to­ry with Dell mon­i­tors (I bought a lot of them when I was run­ning a com­put­er lab, many moons ago) makes me lean that way.

I think I’ll be get­ting the Dell. Dude.

Your thoughts?

Is Steve Jobs really sick?

Okay, so com­pare these two pho­tos. The first one is from Mac­world, in Jan­u­ary 2007. The sec­ond is from yes­ter­day, at WWDC. It would appear that Steve Jobs is wast­ing away. Tell me it doesn’t strike fear into you. I mean, aside from the per­son­al issues that Steve and his fam­i­ly must be expe­ri­enc­ing with his health…

Steve Jobs at Macworld 2007Steve Jobs at WWDC 2008

I have always known that I would live to see Apple with­out Steve Jobs at the helm (actu­al­ly, I did live through the Gil Ame­lio days, just bare­ly), but the thought of it actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing fright­ens the bejeezus out of me.

Any­one else find these pic­tures strik­ing and wor­ri­some? Any­one know any details?

Tell Hillary what you think she should do now

In her frus­trat­ing speech last night, Hillary Clin­ton asked her sup­port­ers to go to her web site and tell her what she should do next. I almost did that (and you can imag­ine what I would have told her she should do), but noticed at the last minute that the form says, “Skip signup and go to HillaryClinton.com,” at the bot­tom. So, if you don’t mind get­ting email from Hillary, be my guest. Tell her what she should do.

We’re in diet detox

This week­end we went to Bor­ders, here in town, and bought two South Beach Diet books (the Book, and a cook­book).  In read­ing the Book of them, it became clear to us that we eat too much of some bad stuff, most­ly refined sug­ar and processed carbs.  Or, as I like to think of them, Pop Tarts.

So, on Mon­day, we began the South Beach Diet.  Here’s the gist.  For two weeks—what they describe as detox—you eat no refined sug­ar, and no carbs.  All sal­ad, lean meats, eggs, and a wee bit of cheese.  Then, after those two weeks, you start to re-intro­duce your body to the good stuff, a lit­tle bread, a lit­tle pas­ta, maybe a lit­tle sug­ar, here and there.  Every­body online says the first three days are hard.

And I’m here to tell you: hell yeah.  I’m not hun­gry, mind you.  The fridge full of romaine, boston let­tuce, bell pep­pers, cel­ery, scal­lions, and toma­toes sees to that.  But I feel… unsat­is­fied.  Tiffany described it as the feel­ing she has when she drinks a lot of water, and I know exact­ly what she means.  Like I’m full of noth­ing.

Plus, I real­ly miss is the time I used to have to… I don’t know, do any­thing but cook.  The SBD is full of good green stuff, which means it costs a hell of a lot at the store, and we spend every wak­ing moment prepar­ing food.  Morn­ings used to be about pour­ing cere­al.  Now we actu­al­ly have to prep the night before, and cook the morn­ing of.  And while din­ner is not much more work, after din­ner is the killer.  We used to put the kids down and then do some work (dur­ing the semes­ter Tiffany always brought work home), have a snack, maybe watch some TV, pay bills, catch up on email… now we put the kids down and we cook.  In addi­tion to hav­ing just cooked a din­ner, we now wash the din­ner dish­es, make lunch for the next day (last night we cooked shrimp, cut up sal­ad, made jel­lo, and would have made a dress­ing from scratch, but we gave up), prep any­thing for break­fast (last night we cut up mush­rooms), and then wash dish­es again.  And by then it is 10 pm or lat­er, which means we go straight to bed or we stay up and get five hours of sleep.

Some­thing is going to have to give.  We’re going to try our best to hold on these first two weeks of detox, but it had bet­ter get eas­i­er.

Oh, and two results to report so far: In about 58 hours so far on the diet, I’ve lost 1.5 pounds, and pooped zero times.  I’m sure you need­ed to know that.

Oh please, do.

It is start­ing to look like Hillary is get­ting ready to drop out, accord­ing to this list over at Polit­i­cal Insid­er.  Oh please, please, please.  I’d real­ly like this nom­i­na­tion to be decid­ed before I go vis­it my fam­i­ly the last week in June.  I think a num­ber of them have been (and still may be) Hillary Clin­ton sup­port­ers.  Again, I reit­er­ate, it isn’t that I didn’t like Clin­ton, or that I didn’t think she’d make a fine Pres­i­dent.  It’s that I liked anoth­er guy bet­ter, and then Clin­ton start­ed doing any­thing to try to win.  And some of the things she did turned me off.